Is there a good tutorial that explains in depth the internals of a GIS and a spatial database system such as PostGIS with examples and without any background assumption? I'm specifically looking for answers to questions such as:

  1. What is a geometry in GIS?
  2. How is it represented?
  3. Given a lat/long coordinate, what are the operations I need to perform on it to bring it to a state where I can call something like ST_contain PostGIS to check if the polygon contains the lat/long coordinate?

I have some experience with general relational database systems but no background with GIS or the spatial database paradigm.


you could try http://www.bostongis.com/ they have a number of guides for PostGIS also the links provided by the other posters are also excellent tutorials. For general GIS information, ESRI's website has some excellant tutorials www.esri.com. and also provide training video's in relation to their software. Other links to try http://geospatial.ucdenver.edu/foss4g/resources/webinars


While the PostGIS in Action book isn't a step by step tutorial, it is a very handy guide, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to truly understand PostGIS and get beyond just the basics of PostGIS.


Perhaps the Intro to PostGIS would fit the bill, http://postgis.net/workshops/postgis-intro/

  • just crisscrossed this post. – Brad Nesom Dec 28 '12 at 21:31

Try the SpatiaLite Tutorial, it is very well done


Definely you should take a look at the very good documentation from Postgis. Start with the 1.5 version for vector stuff and general GIS questions.

  1. http://postgis.net/docs/manual-1.5/ch04.html#PostGIS_Geography AND http://postgis.net/docs/manual-1.5/reference.html#PostGIS_Types
  2. http://postgis.net/docs/manual-1.5/ch04.html#OpenGISWKBWKT AND http://postgis.net/docs/manual-1.5/ch04.html#EWKB_EWKT
  3. http://postgis.net/docs/manual-1.5/PostGIS_FAQ.html#id420854

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